6th-grader's invention wins national science competition

Kai Hatten tells us about the fire exterminator.

With one of the largest wildfires burning in the country right here in Idaho, fire prevention is at the top of mind for many.

A Boise student's invention to prevent forest fires has earned him national attention.

Kai Hatten is a 6th grader at White Pine Elementary School in Boise.

His fire prevention device – the fire exterminator -- earned him top honors at the state science competition and a trip to Washington, D.C., where he won first place at the national science competition.

“It used to be just an old idea and then it became this,” said Kai.

Kai invented a sophisticated campfire extinguisher. It's a fire resistant tube with four sensors that wraps around a campfire.

“The tube has four holes that point in toward the fire and the tubes are connected to a dry chemical fire extinguisher, so when the heat detectors go off it will activate a circuit and parallel lining that will activate the circuit and extinguisher then it will spray out through the tub and extinguish the fire,” said Kai.

Kai is in a gifted and talented class taught in part by teacher Maria Manning-Floch. Every year students participate in the Invent Idaho competition.

“It’s just a process of identifying a problem and finding a solution, and if you think of a toddler from the time they can walk they are identifying problems and solving them, so it’s natural for kids to be inventors,” said Manning-Floch. “This is an example pushed to the extreme, and he thought of a very real problem and was able to solve it for us.”

Although the class participates in the event each year, Manning-Floch says no student has ever advanced as high in the competition as Kai.

“This is the highest a person has ever achieved in inventing at White Pine, I think,” said Manning-Floch.

Part of Kai's inspiration for his extinguisher stems from recent forest fires in the Western United States. But the rest of his motivation hits a little closer to home.

“My grandparents cabin actually burned down because some friends left coals in an outdoor firepit,” said Kai.

The young inventor says he is considering getting a patent for his firefighting device.

“It felt good just to know that it could work,” said Kai.

but overall is just happy his idea turned into real life solution.


Copyright 2016 KTVB


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